GENEVA, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Violence against health-care facilities or personnel has taken place every single week since the passage two years ago of a UN Security Council resolution meant to increase respect for the sanctity of health care, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.
From May 2016 to now, the ICRC said it has registered over 1,60 incidents of violence against health-care facilities or personnel in 16 countries.
In Afghanistan, attacks against health workers and the use or destruction of health-care facilities by arms carriers has cut off thousands, if not millions, of people from medical care.
According to the ICRC, the attacks that health personnel face include threats, kidnappings, and death.
Just this week, armed men stormed a hospital in the Central African Republic where an ICRC surgical team operates, threatening patients, medical staff and Red Cross volunteers.
"Attacks against health facilities and personnel are a double tragedy," said ICRC president Peter Maurer. "First, such attacks wound and maim people seeking and providing health care. But they also deprive an uncountable number of people from receiving aid in the future, crippling the hopes of recovery for people in desperate need."
According to ICRC, more than half of Syria's public hospitals and health-care centers are closed or only partially functioning. Some of them have been hit by multiple air strikes.
In Iraq, the destruction of civilian infrastructure in areas affected by the most recent hostilities has been massive. In Salah al-Din, more than a third of health centers are damaged or destroyed.
Also in Yemen, only 45 percent of the country's health infrastructure was functioning at the end of 2017, and most did not have enough medical supplies.
"Even wars have rules," Maurer said. "The wounded and sick must be protected in all circumstances."